Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Perfect Blue and Requiem For A Dream (And Other Anime Scenes Ripped For American Use)

This may or may not be a blog you agree with.  But in all for entertainment purposes, I'm sure you can agree that many films you see today have scenes and/or story lines that are similar or identical to those in anime.  I was watching Requiem For A Dream last night and the bath tub scene in particular was what got me interested in writing this post.  My mind has been turning all night for this post, so let's get into it.

If anyone hasn't seen Perfect Blue, I suggest you do.  It's an amazingly tricky anime movie that you will want to see about a pop star who gives up her career to become an actor and model, but her fans react negatively.  I'm bad with summaries but basically that's how it plays out and it's way better than what I'm making it seem.  Requiem For A Dream is about 4 people who fall into the darkest depths of drug addiction.  And I mean the darkest.  These movies don't have any storyline similarity but the bath tub scenes that are present in both movies are nearly identical.

Do you see the similarity?  I know there's a lot of anime scene that were ripped and remastered (sometimes horribly) into live action films.  One of which is the No Doubt's song "Ex Girl-Friend", sung by Gwen Stefani, was almost a scene-by-scene play of the bathroom scene from the controversial movie Kite.  What is it with bathroom scenes that attract movie makers?

I'm going to research more scenes taken from anime and I'm planning on making it a longer post.  I'm interested to know, but it may take longer to find out about it than I think.  =]

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An (Almost) Harsh Critique on the Live Action Cast of Ouran High School Host Club

I'm not sure if many are aware that the popular anime Ouran High School Host Club began releasing episodes of a live action cover in July.  I've been keeping up with it for a while since it's started and I've took it upon myself to start critiquing the acting from the cast.  While some of the actors seems to know where to go with their characters, others haven't a clue.  This is my (Almost) Harsh Critique on this cast.

Yamamoto Yusuke as Tamaki Suoh
Now I have to admit.  At first glance, I was disappointed.  Though Yamamoto Yusuke is a very handsome man on his own, he didn't compare quite well to the appearance associated with Tamaki Suoh.  Tamaki is supposed to be a French/Japanese mix, making his appearance more exotic than the standard Japanese looks, but I wasn't surprised when they didn't find an exact mix.  Now for the critique part, he played Tamaki beautifully.  What he lacks in looks, he makes up in character.  He played Tamaki almost to the bone, capturing his sensitive as well as his capricious side, respectively.  He isn't over the top with it and it seems very natural to him.  He did an excellent job.  I can hardly wait until the final episodes are released and I can see the more sentimental scenes involving this character.

Kawaguchi Haruna as Haruhi Fujioka
While Haruhi is a very easy character to portray, it must have been difficult to find someone who not only acts the part but looks the part as well.  Haruna Kawaguchi delivers as she has this boyish appearance that's also present in Haruhi while still maintaining this girlie charm that you love.  Her character is pretty on-point at times but also a little off to keep the flow of the show, which wasn't done in a bad way.  I really appreciate how the live action film came about because you get more of an idea of Haruhi's feelings towards Tamaki a little later on rather than at the last few episodes.

Daito Shunsuke as Kyoya Ootori
I don't want to sound too with Shunsuke, because while he does an amazing job acting in this live action, he completely failed to capture the essence of Kyoya.  He just lacks the spark of what Kyoya is known for while still seemingly to portray his sharp tongue and wit very blah-like.  However, as the show progressed, I was beginning to appreciate this new portrayal of Kyoya.  Though he lacks in presence, I started to think that this works for him.  You start to see Kyoya in a new light.  Do I like it?  A little, but I have to wait until the rest of the episodes are released before I give an official answer.

Chiba Yudai as Honey
I love Chiba Yudai.  He is absolutely adorable and sweet, a perfect type of actor to play Honey, right?  Wrong.  His portrayal of Honey is too over the top for me and never seemed natural in the least bit.  He reminded me of an Ouran fan-girl cosplaying and being over the top just to make it known that "Yes, I'm Honey!  I'm Honey!"  I love Honey as an anime character but in the live action, I grew to become annoyed with him as well as even gone to almost hating the character.  Any input this actor makes in attempt to portray Honey just doesn't deliver.  Then, I thought about it.  Honey is a 3rd year high school student who looks as though he could be an elementary student, he loves to eat cakes, and he acts like a little girl cute and innocent.  With that being said...is Honey even a "natural" character to play?  They may have had better luck finding an 8 year old and calling him a 3rd year high school student for the show.  But then it would be weird that he would be entertaining ladies, wouldn't it?  Hmmmm, I don't think this is Chiba Yudai's fault as far as this goes.

Nakamura Masaya as Mori
I have to say, this actor portrays Mori perfectly.  Not only that, but his looks strangely fits what I would have thought Mori looks like.  Though Mori seems like an easy character to portray, when you think about it you'll realize it's not entirely the case.  Mori only says maybe 1-2 lines an episode, yet you always get this feeling that he has something deeper within his heart.  While you never entirely know what that secret is, you definitely sense the same thing with this actor, making him the best actor in this entire show!

Takagi Manpei and Shinpei as The Hitachiin Twins
Yes, they are twins in actual reality.  The Takagi twins were the perfect choice to play the Hitachiin brothers.  I was so excited to actually see twins portray my favorite characters in the anime series.  And then my heart stopped...they're ACTUALLY twins, ACTUAL brothers.  Suddenly, seeing them act so well as the Hitachiin twins makes me feel a little strange.  It's cute when it's an anime, because, well, it's NOT REAL, but when seeing it as a live action using actual brothers...it's bothersome.  And just the fact that they can't (or won't) make it so obviously identical to the relationship in the anime is what makes their portrayal fall short of awesome.  Twincest is cute in the anime, but creepy in the live action.  Regardless, they played them well.

The Show As A Whole
Any die-hard fan of Ouran would appreciate the live action show because of how it remains true to the anime.  Honestly, the show captures almost every memorable moment that touched us in the anime.

I can only be excited to watch the final episode and see how this live action will come together.  Will they show more romance of Haruhi and Tamaki than the anime did?  Hmmmm, we can only hope.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Love Roleplay. I Hate Roleplay.

I've decided to do a post that's been bugging me for quite some time.  The reason I was procrastinating in posting this was because I knew how long it could turn up to be and while I love blogging (even though I have very few readers) I do have another things I have to devote my attention to first like work and cleaning and taking care of my family.  The reason I've been wanting to blog about this topic is because it's something I know a lot of otaku's go through.  Roleplaying.  (I'll abbreviate it as 'RP' for now.)

So What Is Roleplaying? (In the terms Otaku-folks use it.)

In the direct definition, Role-playing refers to the changing of one's behavior to assume a role, either unconsciously to fill a social role, or consciously to act out an adopted role.  This is a basic definition of what it is.  But let's skip the basic stuff and I'll explain it to you so you have a better idea.  When someone RPs it's usually online (although I've done it with pen and paper before).  It can be done through IM, social networking site, emails, or forums.  I find the most popular place to RP is on social networking sites such as FaceBook or MySpace and also on Forums.  RPing begins when you create a character.  You can choose to create an OC (Original character) or choose to take on the role of thousands of video game or anime characters (even some dopey things like Edward Cullen or Aladdin).  Secondly, you find an RP partner.  I know that's not really an official name for it, but I guess it seems fair to call it that.  Anyway, you and your RP partner, who also has their own character set, basically work together to create a story.  Typically, this is done through text between the two explaining scenes and dialogue between their chosen characters.

The text is usually done in free-style mode (one-liners) which basically is the two going back and forth with short responses, making the story go faster.

Example of Freestyle RP:

Suppose my character is Sora from Kingdom Hearts.  My RP partner choose the role of Riku from the same game.

Sora:  Riku, stop it, you're embarrassing me. *blushes*
Riku:  You don't like it?  *he stops and looks at Sora*
Sora:  I do but..... *he continues to blush* I've just never done this before.
Riku:  It's ok.  I'll be gentle.  *he kisses Sora lightly on the lips and resumes*

So that would be considered a "freestyle" RP.  It's quick, easy, and it continues the story.  This is how most RPers start out.  More advanced (or in some cases, more needy) RPers, will do something called Literature RP (the slang term being para or multi para-RP).  This consists of basically the same story happening, but it much more detailed, in the form of writing as though it can be a novel.

Example of Literature RP:
This time, I'll be Riku.  =P

Sora:  Sora drew back from Riku, "Stop it," he said softly, "You're embarassing me."
His face was turning many shades of red, darkening as he thinks more about the events unraveling in front of him.  Was this truly happening?  It didn't seem natural to Sora that Riku could even act this way.  So affectionate, so caring, it almost scared him, yet at the same time, excited him.
Riku:  Riku looked into Sora's eyes, confused by his words.  Did he really want to stop?  He had come this far, letting all of his defenses around his heart break down, only to be halted abruptly, "You don't like it?" he asked, watching him to see any signs of regret in Sora's expressions.
Sora:  "I do but..." he looked away, blushing even more when Riku looked at him.  His eyes were so beautiful, he couldn't help but feel a tug at his heart.  He wanted to be with Riku, so why was he so afraid to be? "I've...never done this before," he said slowly.
Riku:  Riku relaxed, smiling and relieved that it was merely a case of Sora getting the jitters.  It was his first time too, being with a man, so he was afraid of what to expect.  Even so, he wanted to experience it with Sora.  No one else could take his place in his heart, "It's ok," Riku said finally, inching closer to Sora, "I'll be gently," And with a smirk, he lightly presses his lips to Sora's, taking this hand and them reaching down to (CENSORED!!!!!)

While I apologize for anyone I may have offended (particularly those who aren't a fan of boy on boy action), you get the general idea, you get the general idea between the two.

So now that you understand what RPing is, let's continue.

I Love Roleplay!

There are many reasons to love RPing.  To put it simply:

1.  It's a way to be creative.  Whatever your reason is for RPing, you become creative as a person.  Weather you suck or rock at it at first, you'll soon blossom into a writer.  A lot of RPers will say, "I'm not much of a writer" or "I don't write well" but when they RP, what they write is so beautiful!  Your imagination has no limits with RP, so writing becomes so natural.

2.  It's a way to escape.  If you have something difficult you're dealing with in your life or if you're just bored, RPing is a great way to relieve stress.  It distracts you from whatever could be bothering you and brings you to a place that makes you happy and entertained.

3.  You meet some awesome people.  Weather the person you're RPing with is trying to act like the character they're portraying or not, the person behind the character will always shine through.  You'll be able to connect with someone without technically meeting them or talking to them directly.  Let's admit, how many people can you meet face to face write a complete story with them from start to finish and everything in between?  Not many, which makes RPing so much special.

4.  Your fantasies become reality.  Weather your fantasy is to see Sora and Riku have a cute, lovey relationship or you truly wish to be pregnant by Tamaki Suoh from Ouran High School Host Club, you will always find this fantasy coming true when you RP.

5.  You can fall in love.  A lot of people will find this a silly thing to do, but you can seriously fall in love with the people you meet on RP.  It happens a lot more than you think.  These people just RP such beautiful things, you may feel as though you love them and want to know them more.

I Hate Roleplay.

While there can be endless reasons to love RPing, there's always reasons to loathe it as well:

1.  Where there is roleplay, there is drama.  This is the biggest reasons a lot of people go on hiatus with RPing or completely stop all together.  A lot of times, RPers will get jealous of one another.  Weather it's because someone 'take their RP boyfriend' or 'insults their characters', it's bound to happen.  Trolling, spamming, and stalking ensues after this.  I will have to admit, I have stopped RPing over a dozen times because of drama that literally left me sick in my stomach for days to the point where I couldn't function and never had a good day until the drama was resolved.  Best advice, keep your RPs private and don't pay attention to those who start the drama.

2.  People take your Roleplay seriously.  While it's natural to know that what happens in RP isn't real, this actually becomes a big issue with younger RPers, who becomes so attached and submerged into RP, they begin to take offense when something doesn't go their way.  Weather it's an RP breakup or makeup, things just start to get weird.  Best advice, don't become emotionally involved with the RP or someone who constantly seems to be upset with how the RP is going.

3.  Roleplaying is addictive.  This couldn't be any further from the truth.  You see all of the reasons I've listen in the 'I Love RP' section?  Those and plenty more are the reasons why many people become addicted to RPing.  I have to admit, there were a few times when I've become addicted to it myself.  It was so terrible, it was to the point where I almost destroyed the relationships I had with real people that weren't met over the internet.  I spent every hour on the computer from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed, only pausing to eat, go to the bathroom, and take a shower.  That's over 12 hours on a computer, RPing.  It's not healthy.  Best advice to deal with it, if you've noticed you're becoming addicted to RPing, take a day off.  Just one day and get away from the computer.  This works.  Or set aside only 2 or 3 hours to RPing.  That's like playing a video game, you play after school, and then you get on with your life.  Don't hover over your inbox for replies to RPs, just wait for you time.

Do YOU wanna Roleplay?

Chances are, if you're reading this, you're probably already an RPer.  But if you aren't and my post interested you to begin, then let's start!

Step 1 - Create A Character
Do you have a character from an anime or video game that you just absolutely love and wish you were?  Good!  That means step 1 is already complete for you!  You've chosen who you want to be!  However, if you want to create an original character, you have to think of a lot more.  What does your character look like?  What's their name?  How old are they?  What's their background story?  These are things you need to compile into a profile and make it available for anyone to read so they can get to know your character.

Step 2 - Choose A Place To Roleplay.
Basically, this is all up to you and what you're comfortable with.  Forums are good for RPing in a specific category or storyline but if you are looking to be more open and original, then go to a social networking site.

Step 3 - Befriend A Bunch Of People
For the first few days, you'll be befriending a lot of people.  Try befriending 'characters' you're already familiar with.  Talk to them and ask them to RP.  Eventually, you will have a good group of RPers replying to you.

Step 4 - Set Some Rules
Do you want to have an RP with mature content?  Do you only want specific characters or age group or sex to RP with you?  Are you willing to give out personal information to those who ask (cell phone number, email address, or a real life photo)?  Set all of these rules and include them in your profile.  Try to make them short and sweet.  Don't be mean about it!  A lot of people will turned off by you if you sound rude or mean in your rules, trust me.  If someone breaks your rules, give them a benefit of a doubt and explain that you're rules say otherwise.  If this person continues or tries to convince you to break the rules with you, then don't continue the RP with them anymore.

Step 5 - Have Fun With It
RPing is not going to be fun at all if you're negative or controlling.  If you're not used to a certain style of RP, just go with it.  It may become a new favorite of yours.  Meet some friends, relax, and escape!   Roleplaying is a great leisure activity!

See you in cyberspace!  *she waves and logs off*


She waves with a sure smile, for she knows she will meet with you again.  With a polite bow, she says, "See you in cyberspace!" And she clicks the 'Publish' button, making her blog post available to all who will read it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Saddest Anime Scenes

Anime is a great way to escape because you immerse into a world where anything can happen.  But my favorite part about anime is when it can bring emotions out of you like laughter or tears.  I've created this post to dedicate the most memorable anime by noting the scenes that made me cry the most, ranking from tear-jerker to bawling breakout.

Lvl 1.  Kagome Returns To The Feudal Era (InuYasha)
This scene made me tear up for a ton of reasons.  For one, you grow so attached to these characters.  Rumiko Takahashi really dragged this anime out for way too many episodes and so many years.  This, however, is what makes this anime special.  You feel as though you are friends with the Inu Yasha characters and watch them grow as people.  In the final episode, Kagome and Inu Yasha defeat the ultimate evil (and about time, too).  Inu Yasha returns Kagome to her original time, but in doing so this seals up the well, forbidding Kagome and Inu Yasha to ever see each other again.  She continues her last 3 years of high school and on graduation day, after feeling as though she had completed all that she needed to do, she visits the well one more time, truly wish to see Inu Yasha.  The well miraculously opens up, allowing her to make the ultimate decision to leave forever into the feudal era.  At first she is a bit hesitant, but the heartfelt goodbye from Kagome's mother urges her to go on.  Inu Yasha, who senses the moment she returns to his time rushes to the well and embraces his love.  Sango and Miroku have 3 kids and everything just seems to end like it should.

Lvl 2.   Sekai Kills Makoto (School Days)

While this anime is brutal without the photo, this scene really was sad for one reason.  Just a bit of background, Makoto (the dude lying there with not a drop of life left in him) was friends with Sekai (the girl straddling him).  Sekai, being a good friend, helps Makoto get a date with his crush, Kotonoha.  In helping him, she realizes she loves him.  While Makoto plays with her feelings for a little, he ultimately chooses Kotonoha over Sekai, setting off a ridiculous rage in which she invites him over and butchers him to death.  The reason this scene is so sad, is right before Makoto dies he reaches up to Sekai, grabbing for her.  Though the English subtitles say he mutters "Thank God..." (which was proven to be an error), he actually mutters her name, hinting to her that he never meant to break her heart.  Sekai, realizing what she had done, freaks out and leaves the messy scene.

Lvl  3.  Nana Catches Shoji Cheating (NAna)

Nana is a very sensitive girl.  She is in love with the idea of love and falls in love with nearly any charming boy who looks at her.  The one boy she becomes completely obsessed with a boy she meets in high school named Shoji.  They date for a while before Shoji moves to Tokyo to study.  Nana, desperate to be with Shoji, finds a reason to move to Tokyo to go be with him.  At first, he seems happy to see her, but you (the watcher) notice he doesn't really like her at all.  Especially when it shows he is cheating on Nana with a girl from his work.  Though Nana isn't aware, she still is crazy for Shoji, which breaks your heart because you know she's too sweet for him.  Anyway, this poor girl waits outside in the cold from his shift to be done, only to witness Shoji and his girlfriend smooching before they suddenly realize she's there.  She cries and is so upset, but blatantly tells him she doesn't want him anyway and that she never wants to look at him.  A typical scene for a breakup, but it's so powerfully done, you can't help but cry.

Lvl 4.  Mariko Blows Up With Kurama (Elfen Lied)
Mariko hardly is featured in the entire anime, but when she is, you fear her a little.  She has these invisible arms called vectors that she can control and tear people up, making her a deadly weapon.  She is a from a dangerous breed of humans called Diclonius.  Since her vectors are the longest and she also wields the most of all Diclonius, she is considered the deadliest of all and she is locked away for her entire life.  Kurama, who is revealed to be her father in the final episode, takes his daughter into his hands, showing her the first ounce of human love and compassion she ever witnesses.  Kurama, believing it was cruel to give up his daughter to such circumstances leaves with her, knowing that she had dozens of explosives hidden throughout her body in case she tried to escape.  Though they both know about the explosives, they run away together, ultimately blowing up.  This scene made me cry so hard, even though you never see them blow up, you only hear it.

Lvl 5.  Haruka Says Goodbye To Takayuki (Rumbling Hearts)
Haruka has been through a lot.  She throws her hearts out for her high school crush named Takayuki, who doesn't even seem to like her at first.  However, on their first date, Takayuki runs late and she is unfortunately involved in an accident that leaves her in a 4 year coma.  To make matters worse, she awakens and believes that absolutely no time has passed at all, that she is still dating Takayuki and she is still in high school.  What she doesn't know is that Takayuki has moved on, believe she would have never awoken from her coma, and actually starts dating Haruka's friend, Mitsuki.  To make things easier for her, Takayuki pretends to date her again, awakening old feelings within him.  Mitsuki, who originally doesn't want to hurt her friend, eventually tells Haruka that she had been dating Takayuki.  This severely damages their friends but damages Haruka even more.  She is determined to make Takayuki love her again and she goes on a limb to try and walk again, almost destroying herself.  As the final scene approaches, Haruka asks Takayuki to take her on her wheelchair to the beach.  When they arrive, Haruka does something no one expects: she lets him go.  Stating that the Takayuki she loved once no longer exists, she lets him go to Mitsuki.  This makes you unbelievably upset for many reason.  For one, Haruka is the sweetest girl and you feel like she deserves Takayuki.  Two, Mitsuki is a bitch!  This scene will leave you depressed.

Lvl 6.  Kanade Crosses Over (Angel Beats)
This anime is strange, because all of the characters are dead.  They are in purgatory, waiting for themselves to accept their deaths and move on to Heaven.  Yuzuru (the boy in the photo) dies, having no memory of why, and is sent to purgatory.  He quickly joins a rebellion called the 'Not Yet Dead Battle Front', which involves a lot of teenagers fighting the other inhabitants of purgatory in order to not cross over.  Yuzuru befriends and falls in love with Kanade (the angel in the photo), a girl who doesn't talk much about how she dies.  On the final episode, with the battlefront completely watered down to about 6 people (all of the rest of them have crossed over to Heaven), they have a graduation ceremony, since none of them finished high school and they felt like having one.  At this point, they are the only 6 remaining teenagers in purgatory, the rest have crossed over to Heaven, leaving the entire place seeming painfully empty.  After the graduation, 4 of them cross over immediately, leaving Yuzuru and Kanade as the only ones left.  Yuzuru confesses his love for Kanade, who merely cries.  Yuzuru asks Kanade to stay in purgatory with him to help other teenagers pass on to Heaven, but Kanade cries more and says she loves him, but she doesn't want to.  The two hug, crying histerically.  And then Kanade crosses over, leaving Yuzuru hugging nothing, grabbing the air and begging for her to appear again, but she is already an angel.  This scene made me cry like nothing before and left me depressed for the entire night.

Another part that makes you cry is the credits.  You see this photo?

This is a photo that plays during the credits.  This shows the 'Not Yet Dead BattleFront' and all it's members.  As the episodes whittle down, more people begin to disappear from this photo as they cross over to Heaven in the show.  At the final episode, you see only Yuzuru and Kanade.  Kanade dissolves from the photo, leaving Yuzuru there by himself.  The credits roll and show the lonely photo of Yuzuru.  And the tears start flowing again when Yuzuru dissolves shortly after, marking that he too crossed over to Heaven.  A perfect yet tearful ending to a terrific anime.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Extreme Couponing: Saving $$$ For A Convention

About two blog posts ago I wrote a post about how to save money for a convention.  While my reason may have been pretty decent, some con-goers may still think that $400 + is waaaay too much to spend to go to a convention.  That's ok.  That's why I have this method too.

1.  Get a boyfriend.
Keep in mind that this usually works only for girls, but can sometimes work for boys.  Whine and complain and do a pity party about how you won't have enough money for a ticket.  Then say how cheap they are and bash yourself for not saving enough for 1 measly little ticket.  Your boyfriend will feel sorry for you and buy your ticket for you.  That's about $45.00 off right away.

2.  Search the convention's forum's for rides.
Most conventions have a forum to post requests to get rides from someone in your area.  Most con-goers wouldn't mind picking you up as long as you pay them a little gas money. 

3.  Search the convention's forum for hotels.
Like I said in the step above, they do have forums where you can find someone in the area who has a hotel room they can share with you.  While some people wouldn't like it if they shared a room with a complete stranger, a lot of people would have no problem with it.  Keep in mind, though, you may have to sleep on the floor.

4.  Sleep in your car.
If you're driving to a convention, forget the hotel and sleep in your car.  Find a good vacant area like a hotel room parking lot and snooze away in the car until daybreak.  Guess what?  It's free!  Just be sure to pack pillows, blankets, or sheets so you're comfortable.

5.  Don't wear a costume.
I know, I know, it takes away from the experience, but if you want to save money, try spending $0 on the costume.  If you still want to cosplay, then you should............

6.  Cosplay as L from Death Note.
You're going to get made fun of, and there will be a million other cosplayers walking around just like you.  Mess your hair up, slab on some eyeshadow, through on your favorite jeans, and plain white shirt.  Now you're ready to cosplay for free!  If anything, the only thing you'll need to invest on is black hair dye.

7.  Skip out on the Dealer's Room.
It's going to suck, but if you are tight on money, then don't even go near the Dealer's Room.  If you step one foot in there, punish yourself.  You will be tempted to steal or panhandle and that's NOT a good thing.

8.  Bring your own food.  
Scrounge up the rest of your chips and cookies and take them with you.  This will save you some money on going to restaurants.

So let's tally up the total cost of what it would have cost if you had the money.  I'll just use the total from 2 posts ago.


Now let's subtract, the costume, wig, registration, hotel, and half of the gas money.  With all of that subtracted, the grand total for a convention would be.......................... $20.

Can you afford $20?

If you can't, then do the ultimate saving money technique.

9.  Don't go to a convention.
Just wait until your finances are a bit in order to even think about a convention.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Asian Drama Film Review 2 - NANA

I literally just finished this movie only 10 minutes ago, but I fell so absolutely in love with it, I had to write a review!  Recently, I was on Netflix searching for a new anime and Nana came up.  I watched about 3 episodes before I decided that I really loved the anime and I was ready to continue watching it.  I knew there was a live action film based on the anime, so I went looking for it on YouTube and found it.  I am glad I did!  So after watching such a great film, I'm here to review the wonderful story of Nana.

Two girls randomly meet each other on a train to Tokyo.  They are startled to find that they are both 20 years old and they share the same name: Nana.  Because of the snow delay, the two girls have a good time talking to each other, despite their personalities being complete opposites.  As the two part from the train and they go in search for their own apartments, they are thrilled to find that they choose the same apartment, making them room mates.  As the two live together, their lives change dramatically.


Nana Komatsu
Nana K. is a sweet girl, but is very needy and comes off as immature.  She plans to come to Tokyo to study art, but her real reason for coming to Tokyo is to follow her friends and her boyfriend, Shouji, all of which moved to Tokyo almost a year before.  She hopes to move in with Shouji, but he tells her that she has to get her own place and find a job to stay in Tokyo, which she does fairly quickly and becomes roommates with Nana Osaki.


Nana Osaki
Nana O. is a singer in a band who was quite popular in her home town.  She moves to Tokyo with her band in hopes to make it big in the music industry.  She comes off as someone hard and cold, but you soon realize that she is very kind and a devoted friend.  She used to date a the bassist in her band named Ren up until he switched bands and moved to Tokyo and becomes famous.  Though it seems she is only in Tokyo to make it big, it becomes clear in the back of her mind, she wants to see Ren again.

 As the movie begins, everything seems happy and hopeful and cheerful, and this mood pretty much maintains itself the entire movie.  Both Nanas meet and seem to get along.  They become closer when they move in with each other.

Sadly, Nana K., lovesick and heart-eyed for her boyfriend Shouji, begins to go crazy to be close with him again.  But it's very apparent that Shouji doesn't like her as much as Nana K. thinks he does.  This also becomes very obvious when he starts openly getting close to another girl at the restaurant he works at: Sachiko.  He begins hanging out with Nana K. less and less, and though she seems to think it's strange, she still believe there is nothing wrong.

Nana O. struggles to get into the music business while battling with her past memories of her ex, Ren, who left Nana O.'s band to become famous with another band: Trapnet.  While she seems to do fine, it becomes increasingly hard when she realizes that Nana K. is a Trapnet fan and buys the two of them tickets.

As the movie progresses, you notice both Nana's friendship with each other grow almost to a relationship.  I was a bit confused by the two of them, because there are a lot of hints that maybe the two girls are in love, but this is never confirmed in the movie.  As their friendship grows, their other relationships shrink, changing their lives.

This movie brought up a lot of emotions out of me.  While the majority of the movie made me laugh and smile, there were a few intense parts that made me cry.  It's an excellent movie on true friendship, not a film you see much of these days.  The acting was very believable on both parts and the personalities are a lot more realistic than some live action films.  I would definitely recommend anyone who wants a light-hearted film to watch this movie.  Watch it with your best friend.  It's definitely a chick flick!  But it has some room for guys to like it too. 


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Easy Ways To Save $$ Money $$ For A Convention

So we've all been in a situation where you go to a convention and you're not in a costume, you can't go to any good panels because they cost money, you can't afford even the Pocky sticks in the Dealer's Room, and your bugging your con-buddies for a meal.  It happens to the best of us.  In my case, it's happened twice.  And it sucks.

So a lot of newcomers to cons always ask me how I save up enough money to go to conventions.  Because if you think about it, going to conventions is a completely expensive hobby.  You have to think about registration tickets, hotel rooms, transportation, food, and that's only the MUST-HAVE to go to a convention.  Then there's buying stuff at the Dealer's Room, buying or making a costume, and spending money to go to the extra epic panels.  Doing this multiple times a year can really add up.  So how do I do it?  Go to 4-7 cons a year?  Careful planning.  And I'll show you some easy ways to save up some money in 0 easy steps.

1.  Create a budget.
Now, this is when you actually sit down and completely plan out your entire convention experience.  Keep in mine that the only way this step is effective is if you plan your convention AT LEAST 3-6 months before the actual convention.  Ask yourself questions like: will you be getting a hotel room?  Approximately, how much gas money would you need?  Do you want to cosplay?  How much do you want to spend in the Dealer's Room or Art Gallery?  Do you want to eat fast food or restaurant quality food?  Think hard on all the questions that would have to do with money on your trip.  And now estimate how much that's going to cost.  A nice tip for estimating, try estiamting to the higher number.  Meaning, if a hotel room is usually $70-100 dollars a night, just assume automatically it's $100.  That way no matter what you decide to get, you'll know you have enough.  Even if you get it cheaper, that's more money for the Dealer's Room to spend!

Add up all these expenses.  I'll give you an example of what my budget looks like for Feburary 2012's MangaNEXT convention:

$50 - Hotel
20  - Gas
40  - Food
120- Costume
40  - Wig
45 - Registration
+200- Dealer's Room/Art Gallery
$475.00  -  Total Cost

2.  Arrange For A Group Payment
Another terrific way to keep the costs down for everyone is to get a group payment going.  Chances are, you're not going to a convention by yourself, but in a group.  Set aside a day to talk with your con-group and discuss how much of a cost this will take to go to your convention.  Try to get everyone to decide on how everyone can contribute to the cost of a hotel, gas, and food.  If there are four people in your group, agree to have everything split in quarters.  And so on with however many people are in your group.  This will help everyone in paying less and being able to start up their own savings for the convention

3.  Research low prices ahead of time.
Seriously, don't wait for the last minute to get a hotel room or rental car.  This is a bad mistake that a lot of people make.  If you are getting a hotel room, start making reservations 2-3 months before the convention date.  This tip is good because it's cheaper, for one.  And for two, you may find yourself two cities away from your convention if you do otherwise.  Play it safe, and reserve your hotel as soon as you get enough money.

4.  Save each week.
Take out your calendars and start counting the weeks before you go to your convention.  On the same day you create you budget, start with that week and count all the weeks before the con date.  Let's just say you made your budget the same day I did and your going to the same convention I'm going to.  That means your have 33 weeks until the convention.  That's a lot of time!  And this is a good thing.  Now, divide 33 into your total convention cost.  In my case, it would be about 15.  That's how much you need to save per week, $15 dollars.  A lot of people are thinking, well, $15....I can do that a week.  That's why you need to plan early.  The earlier you start planning, the less you have to save up each week.

5.  Start a quarter jar.
This is one of easiest and most effective way to save.  Obviously, you have to purchase something once in a while.  After each purchase, save your coins.  Honestly, save them.  Don't keep them in your wallet or purse every day for a future purchase, just empty them all out at the end of each day.  Search your pockets, do regular checks in the sofas, and search your laundry for any coins.  The best ones to save are, obviously, the silver ones, especially quarter.  If you fill an entire regular-sized coffee can with only quarters, you can have $428.75 when you cash it in.  That almost covers the entire convention cost!  Get into the habit of always saving your quarters.  It will "pay" off when the time comes.

Good luck and happy saving.  Look out for the "Dummies Guide To Saving $$$ For A Convention", coming soon, a post that can lower the cost of your convention by up to 80%, no lie!  Stay tuned!  =]